Creative Research Medal
In her recent award-winning book Legions of Pigs in the Early Medieval West, Jamie Kreiner, professor in the Department of History and associate dean for the humanities in the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences, offers a pathbreaking investigation of the pig’s central role in the histories of North Africa and Europe between 500 and 1000 CE. She tracks the interlocking and evolving relationships between pigs and humans by drawing on textual and visual evidence, bioarchaeology and settlement archaeology, and mammal biology. In the process, she highlights how early medieval communities transformed themselves in order to accommodate these tricky animals. Under the influence and inspiration of their pigs, they reconfigured their agricultural regimes, laws, economic policies, social relations, and even their cosmologies. In the end, even the pig’s own identity was transformed: At the close of the early Middle Ages, it had become a powerful symbol for Christianity itself.